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Guard Charisma Osborne leads UCLA women’s basketball to victory over Washington

Graduate student guard Charisma Osborne battles her defenders. Osborne scored a team-high 17 points against the Huskies Friday night (Myka Fromm/Assistant Photo editor)

Women’s Basketball

No. 2 UCLA62

By Gavin Carlson

Jan. 26, 2024 9:41 p.m.

This post was updated Jan. 26 at 10:20 p.m.

Teams typically arrive to Pauley Pavilion more than an hour before tip-off on game days.

But on Friday night, it seemed as though both offenses showed up more than an hour after the opening jump.

Fortunately for the Bruins, a third-quarter outburst from Charisma Osborne was enough to avoid an upset loss on their home court.

After a first half in which both teams combined made just 18 of their 71 shots, the graduate student guard scored eight of her game-high 17 points in the third quarter to lead No. 2 UCLA women’s basketball (16-2, 5-2 Pac-12) to a 62-44 victory over Washington (12-6, 2-5). The Bruins struggled offensively for most of the contest with the surprise absence of sophomore center Lauren Betts, but Osborne’s 14 points through the first three quarters helped her team survive the Huskies’ gritty effort and move to 10-0 at home this season.

“Sometimes you just have to rely on your guts,” said coach Cori Close. “We say all the time to our team that your commitments have to be greater than your feelings. And it took us a half to remember that, but I thought we regrouped at halftime and came out with much better focus. … Proud of their response.”

Neither offense was able to get into any rhythm throughout the first half.

Without their leading scorer in Betts, the Bruins endured three separate first-half stretches in which their offense missed at least seven consecutive shots. UCLA missed 13 of its 17 first-quarter attempts, including a combined 16.7% shooting from the field from its five starters in the opening 10 minutes.

When they weren’t missing shots, the Bruins were committing their seven first-quarter turnovers. And after scoring just 10 points on 23.5% shooting in the first quarter, UCLA’s offensive struggles continued for the next 10 minutes.

The sophomore guard duo of Kiki Rice and Londynn Jones combined to shoot 0-of-5 from the field and 0-of-4 on 3-pointers in the second period to move to a combined 1-of-12 and 0-of-7, respectively, in the first half. Senior forward Angela Dugalić, who did not start for the first time all season despite Betts’ absence, shot 2-of-11 herself in the opening 20 minutes.

Despite the early offensive collapse, the Bruins were able to force similar offensive struggles onto the Huskies.

Washington shot 31.3% from the field in the first half and failed to make any of its nine 3-point attempts. And even with a less efficient opening 20 minutes offensively, UCLA used a 29-19 rebounding advantage and a last-second triple from Osborne to take a 23-21 lead into the halftime break.

Close said the Bruins, who lead the country in rebounding margin, had to prove they could still dominate the boards without 6-foot-7 Betts on the floor.

“Lauren does deserve a lot of credit for that. Honestly, I think everybody else had been sort of underachieving in that way,” Close said. “But that was the cool thing about tonight, is that we knew everybody had to step up in that way.”

Sophomore guard Londynn Jones (Zimo Li/Daily Bruin)

Following the halftime break, the Bruins’ leading lady helped pull her team out of its slump.

After UCLA fell behind 32-29 halfway through the third, Osborne capped off a 9-0 Bruin run with her first make of the period.

But she was just getting started.

Just possessions later, the 5-foot-9 guard grabbed a defensive rebound before taking the ball from coast to coast for an and-one layup.

The play brought the Pauley Pavilion crowd to one of its loudest moments of the night.

Then Osborne came down the floor on the Bruins’ next possession for her second consecutive and-one basket and free throw. And then the UCLA star drew a charge on the next play before assisting a Dugalić layup in the final seconds of the third quarter.

In a span of minutes, Osborne helped turn a tight contest into a 46-36 UCLA lead heading into the fourth quarter.

From then on, the Bruins outscored the Huskies 16-8 in the fourth quarter to earn a near 20-point win. 

UCLA held Washington to 22.2% shooting and forced six turnovers to double the Huskies scoring output in the final 10 minutes and rebound from last Monday’s loss at Utah.

“Coach Cori and the rest of the coaching staff were really just encouraging us guards to keep driving to the basket and I think that’s just what I was trying to do,” Osborne said. “Once one goes in then I’m like, ‘ok let me try again.’ I was just trying to be aggressive.”

From then on, the Bruins held the Huskies to 22.2% shooting and forced six turnovers to outscore the visitors 16-8 in the fourth quarter. 

Without Betts, Osborne and the rest of UCLA’s offense eventually found enough success to rebound from last Monday’s loss at Utah with a near 20-point win.

“Sometimes you just have to find a way to win ugly” Close said. “This is our first game without somebody that we have built a lot around our offense, but we have a lot of weapons. … We can play so much better, just with the people that we have. I’m totally confident in that.”

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Gavin Carlson | Sports staff
Carlson is currently a staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. He was previously a reporter on the softball and men's golf beats.
Carlson is currently a staff writer on the football, men's basketball and women's basketball beats. He was previously a reporter on the softball and men's golf beats.
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